Sydney construction company fined over female worker’s injuries

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A construction company in Sydney has been fined $300,000 for failing to manage a defective gate which fell on a worker, resulting in spinal and pelvic injuries.

The female worker was working at the company’s site in Camperdown as a traffic controller when the incident happened in May 2015. The Sydney District Court was told that the site was secured by a heavy steel gate operating electronically on a sliding track. As the power to the site has been disconnected, workers had to open and close the gate manually.

On the day of the incident, the worker was tasked to lock the gate when the last trucks left the site. As she pushed the gate closed, it came off the track and landed on her.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said an investigation had found that the company failed to conduct a proper risk assessment, or develop a safe system of work for the manual operation of the gate.

“Alarmingly, an inspection of the gate revealed that it was missing a piece that was vital to its correct operation.

Before the incident occurred, the woman told a supervisor that it was getting increasingly difficult to open and close the gate.

“Every NSW worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and SafeWork will continue to take decisive action against businesses that fail to provide this,” said Mr. Kean.

In handing down the penalty, Judge Andrew Scotting took into consideration that this is the third time SafeWork NSW prosecuted the company. They were also ordered to pay SafeWork’s legal costs. The company was given 28 days to lodge an appeal.

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